China must prepare for the impact of artificial intelligence

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has added one more competing field to the intense technological rivalry between China and the United States. Here, it’s not just a contest between governments, but among private companies whose business models and practices are expected to be profoundly affected. The technology is already having a big impact on our lives. That will only grow in coming years, and we better be prepared for the changes. It is no exaggeration to say that AI is likely to define the future of business. Companies and governments know this. As a result, there is now a big push for research and development in AI, and to lure top talent in both countries. The US is leading the field, not only by producing some of the most creative minds, but also investing the most in it. The mainland think tank Wuzhen Institute estimates that total investment in the US amounted to US$17.9 billion last year. It is followed by China, which injected US$2.6 billion into the sector. Unsurprisingly, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent Holdings – the Chinese internet triumvirate collectively known under the acronym BAT – are leading the way, just as their American counterparts – Apple, Microsoft,…

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